In the dairy industry, cows give birth to a calf each year. Male calves are considered to be a by-product and are separated from their mother at birth and sold for a low price to be raised for veal meat.
We trailed livestock trucks from Ireland, where over 100,000 calves are exported each year to the mainland.
After a ferry crossing of over 18 hours, they arrive at the port of Cherbourg in France, where the calves are unloaded and fed at a control post. Here they are handled impatiently and brutally. Some of them do not survive.
They are then reloaded and continue on their long journey to Italy, Spain or the Netherlands where they will be raised under intensive conditions and kept always indoors. Their sad life ends in a slaughterhouse few months later.
In this control post close to Cherbourg, 2500 calves are unloaded to be fed. Hungry and scared, they are handled impatiently and very roughly. Some are hit, pulled by their ears or kicked.
One of the employees pushes a calf to the ground and then repeatedly jumps on him.
This violent treatment is unacceptable. Eyes on Animals and L214 are filing charges for cruelty to animals.
New footage taken by L214 and Eyes on Animals shows appalling transport conditions of young animals in Europe. Separated from their mother at birth, exhausted, scared, hungry and treated with brutality, unweaned calves undergo journeys of hell. Every year well over 100,000 calves are exported from Ireland and undergo very long journeys of 2 – 4 days to veal factory farms throughout Europe, such as Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. Ireland is not the only European Union Member State to be facilitating this kind of transport (by road, plane and boat). In total, there are more than one million young calves transported across Europe each year.
Even though European regulation 1/2005 regulates the transport of animals, there is no fixed limit for the overall journey time and the animals are denied food and water during transport; it is perfectly legal to deprive unweaned calves access to fluid for up to 9 hours. In practice, unweaned animals are prohibited from drinking for even longer, because it is impossible to give them the fluid they need via on-board drinking systems. As a consequence, unweaned animals only have a chance to access the nutrition they require when unloaded.
Aware of the suffering endured by unweaned calves and other young animals still dependent on milk, the European Parliament voted in February 2019 a resolution for the Commission to define the concept of unweaned animals and to reinforce the restrictions of their transport.
More than 8 out of 10 Europeans agree that farm animals need better protection (Eurobarometer 2016).
That is why, as European citizens, we ask the European Commission to ban all transport of unweaned animals.
Eyes on Animals strives to reduce the suffering of farm animals by investigating and exposing their life conditions and improve law enforcement. Our aim is to create a society where the inherent worth of animals is recognized and respected.